Archive | June 2012

soundCHECK 156 – June 28th 2012

The readers of soundCHECK, all two of you, will know that I’m no music snob. No sir.

Unfortunately, I’ve always felt indie music was missing something, something I could never put my finger on. ‘If only it could be infused with another element!’ I would plead, as I pressed play on The Kooks’ first album for the millionth time and cried myself to sleep.

Thank God then, for the lauded arrival of Bristol-based sextet, Yes Sir Boss. If the press release that’s found its way into the awkward clutch of my hand is anything to go by, what Yes Sir Boss lack in grammar is more than made up for in sound.

“Indefinable” parps the press release – shortly before taking a pilgrimage to u-turn temple and defining the band as having: “elements of everything from ska, roots and reggae, to jazz, funk and indie.” Confused? So was I. Until this glorious press release settled on the most beautiful description of music I’ve ever seen: “horn injected indie.”

THAT’S WHAT INDIE MUSIC HAS BEEN MISSING! AN INJECTION OF HORN!

I know you’ll be as excited as I am about this new musical breakthrough. So take the reins of your digital horse and gallop off to find Yes Sir Boss on Soundcloud.com and listen to their new EP. What awaits is a deliciously-produced, hanky-skanky fusion of reggae, ska and indie. You can use it to pretend we’re having a summer.

Yes Sir Boss are the first signing to the record label of North Devon-generated soul starlet Joss Stone. Let’s gloss over the unapologetically bad label name (Stone’d Records) and hope Joss’s mega-fame can help to provide the platform Yes Sir Boss need for their slice of success pie.

And may that journey to victory begin tomorrow night (Friday 29th). Because Yes Sir Boss are playing live at The Landmark in Ilfracombe. Support comes from the prodigiously talented local acoustic musician Pete Buffery (soundcloud.com/pete-buffery). But it’s Yes Sir Boss who will be taking centre stage. Just watch out for their injection of horn. It’ll get you.

Do carrier pigeons work in cyberspace? Attach your regional music news to the wing of one and aim him at jharper@northdevonjournal.co.uk.

soundCHECK 155 – June 21st 2012

It won’t have escaped your attention-tentacles that we are in the midst of an international football tournament. What may have escaped your attention is the official logo for the tournament – that most masculine, testosterone-drenched of emblems: a flower.

The stereotypical England fan is renowned for many things. An affinity for the finer points of horticulture is not one of them. Sure, the ceremonial flower that has become the totemic badge of Uefa’s most prestigious tournament is blooming a bud that blossoms to become a football, but it’s a flower nonetheless. Clear as day. A flower. And this faux-football-flower has spread its seed on every tournament table, every match day programme and every stadium. It’s a flower that’s flashed to the watching world with every television replay. Trust me, you’ve seen it.

As a man who has shared many bars with ornery, feisty England fans, I love the idea of skinhead, three-lion-toting beer monsters cheering a tournament that has made its point of identity a flower. Pigeon-chested alpha males cheering petals? How beautifully oxymoronic! Perhaps this floral branding is an effort to subconsciously quell hooliganistic violence. After all, why throw glass bottles when you can muse upon rugged, manly flowers?

A far more apposite event for a floral emblem is Llama Festival, which took place a couple of weekends ago on Lynmouth’s Manor Green. If ever a small seed growing to a beautiful flower was metaphorical of an event, then this was it. Llama Festival was cancelled last year amid funding and licensing issues. Thanks to a small group of volunteers prepared to put their wallets on the line, it returned this year, much to the joy of thousands of festival fans. Same breathtaking coastal location. Same wantonly eclectic line up. Same relaxed, banterous family atmosphere. What a credit to the region. The tireless work of Roland Gold and Nik Barrie was nothing short of heroic and is entitled to huge recognition. Buy them a pint if they allow you to spot them.

In other news, local folksters Woodford Green have made their fantastic new EP available as limited edition vinyl at woodfordgreen.bandcamp.com. And pray prepare yourself for the next Black Hole night at The Palladium in Bideford, which takes place on Saturday 30th June. Expect grimy indie bands, plenty of beer and a sweaty atmosphere.

No flowers.